Beating stress with a lovely cup of tea.
Causes of stress.
It’s said that some of the biggest stresses in our lives occur when moving house and having a baby. I am currently experiencing a variation on that theme in the form of selling two properties and expecting another grandchild. Although the stress of the birth will be indirect and will take the form of Rachel getting ever more fraught as the weeks go by, at least we have a completion date for the baby. Moving house is a completely different matter.
As if packing, sorting, shifting and moving weren’t bad enough, I now have to deal with estate agents. And because our move to a bigger house involves us selling an investment rental property as well as the family home, we have to deal with two lots of the bastards. This is clearly going to be a long and stressful summer.
Fortunately, there is a remedy to the situation. Some modern practitioners would suggest the likes of wine, vodka or anything mixed with Red Bull as a way of escaping the effects of stress, but a more reliable solution is the great British staple, a lovely-cup-of-tea.
Apparently, an ordinary cup of tea won’t do, it has to be a lovely one. For generations, the British have instinctively turned to tea at times of strife. For example, even throughout the blitz, it was only the lovely-cup-of-tea that kept the nation together.
“What’s wrong Ethel?”
“My house has been bombed, and everyone in our street has been killed.”
“Oh dear, I’ll pop the kettle on and we’ll have a lovely-cup-of-tea.”
It is hard to comprehend just how hard things have to get before a lovely cup of tea won’t be the solution.
And yet, making a lovely-cup-of-tea is rapidly becoming a lost art.
Sometimes, if you ask someone what they want to drink they will reply “Whatever’s easiest.” Have they never made a hot drink? Do they not know what’s involved? Just how difficult do they think it is to make a lovely-cup-of-tea? If they really want whatever’s easiest, they can bloody well have a mug of cold tap water.
Having suggested that making tea is simple, I refer to the modern approach to the tea ceremony. Boil kettle, drop bag into mug, squeeze the life from the bag by crushing it against the mug with a spoon, stir in enough sugar to bring on type 2 diabetes and add milk to achieve the desired colour.
When I am offered builders/supermarket tea (which is what most people have in their kitchen cupboards), I have it black with the bag whipped out as soon as it makes the water go dark. This prevents it getting too bitter. Call me old fashioned, but I hate my tea tasting like burnt car tyres. Some claim this is a waste of a tea bag, as if the taste is of no consideration, but I assure you, it is not vital to strip all the flavour out in one go. In fact, many quality teas will withstand several infusions and will even improve with successive brews. However, modern life doesn’t allow such frivolity and functions purely on the boil-bag-bin system.
Go on, go on, go on, go on, GAIWAN!
Despite thousands of years of experience, it seems the Chinese got it all wrong when it comes to brewing tea and the use of a pot or gaiwan to brew tea is merely a way of creating additional washing up. These days, “How do you have it?” usually means with or without sugar, not would you like black tea, green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea or puerh tea? The concept of using different leaves, different temperature water and different brewing times is somewhat lost in a culture that chooses its tea based on their preference for monkeys or little northern men in flat caps.
If you fancy trying something a little special, check out the Canton Tea Co. where you will find enough lovely-cup-of-tea making material to be able to face all manner of stresses and still go on to conquer the world.
For how much longer a lovely-cup-of-tea will be seen as a panacea, remains to be seen. I just hope that it continues to work its magic as Rachel and I get more and more stressed over the coming weeks and months. Of course, if things get too frantic and we end up stabbing each other, we might need to get a bigger pot.
Does a lovely-cup-of-tea do it for you, or do you prefer other ways to beat stress?